Raspberry Salted Pine Nut Brittle Ice Cream

DSC_0020aSo I had another post in the line-up to publish today, but with the east coast, England, and northern Europe choking in a heat wave, I felt that I should bump something cool, refreshing, and summery to the head of the queue. And what a summer treat it is! I am IMMENSELY PROUD of this ice cream. I made it last weekend, in my nearly new ice cream maker, after I had another no-self-control U-Pick experience. After a little more than an hour, I’d picked six pounds of raspberries and four pounds of blueberries, and it’s only thanks to my sister, who was with me and able to lead me from temptation, that I did not pick more.  Having far too many raspberries is not exactly a crisis. I used over half a pound of them for this recipe, and more than anything, it made me wonder why raspberry ice creams are not more common, because raspberry ice cream is DELICIOUS.

This is the ice cream in a nutshell: a creamy but not overly-rich custard base. Raspberries softened in a pan with sugar just until they start to fall apart, so the fresh raspberry taste is still really strong. And lots of salty crunchy brittle made with toasted pine nuts. It’s gorgeous, even if I do say so myself, and it’s perfect for too-hot sticky summer days. I hope you like it. DSC_1003a

You will need:

An ice cream maker

A wire mesh sieve or chinois

A whisk

A heavy saucepan

A wooden spoon or rubber spatula

A baking sheet

Parchment paper or silpat


** Measurements are in US and Metric.

For the custard base

1 cup (240 ml) milk (whole or two percent)

2/3 cup (160 ml) whipping cream

4 large egg yolks

1 cup sugar plus ¼ cup sugar (about 200 plus 50 grams)

2 cups (250 grams) fresh raspberries

¼ teaspoon guar gum, mixed in 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

For the brittle

3 ounces (84 grams) pine nuts

¼ stick (30 grams) butter

½ cup (100 g) sugar

1.5 tablespoons light corn syrup or glucose

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons water

¼ teaspoon baking soda


Heat the milk and cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until nearly scalded. While the dairy is heating, in a heat-proof bowl, whip together the egg yolks with one cup of the sugar. Dribble a bit of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, beating vigorously, to temper the yolks, and then a bit more, until you’ve poured in about half a cup.  Then whisk the yolks together with the milk and cream in the saucepan until smooth. Heat over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the custard has started to thicken, about seven minutes, or until it coats the back of a wooden spoon and holds a line when you run your finger through it. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and cool completely in your refrigerator (about six hours, or overnight).

While your custard base is cooling, you can make your other components. Combine the raspberries and remaining ¼ cup of sugar in a pan. Heat over low heat until the sugar has melted and the raspberries have collapsed but not yet started to boil.

Transfer to a wire mesh sieve or chinois over a bowl, and force the syrup through with a wooden spoon or spatula to strain out the seeds. Cover and put in your fridge to cool as well.

For the pine nut brittle, begin by toasting the pine nuts in your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius), shaking the pan occasionally, until they are golden. While your pine nuts are toasting, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.

On your stovetop, heat the sugar, water, corn syrup or glucose, butter, and salt over medium heat, stirring occasionally if necessary (the corn syrup/glucose helps prevent crystals from forming) until the mixture has turned a dark butterscotch color. Carefully add the baking soda (the mixture will fizz and foam up excitingly) and then remove from heat, immediately stir in the pine nuts, and spread onto your prepared baking sheet to cool completely. When the brittle is cool, you can either put it in a food processor and pulse a few times until the brittle is in small chunks (not powder!) or you can do what I do: transfer to a paper bag, and bash with a rolling pin to crumble.

DSC_1014aWhen all of your ingredients are ready to go, stir the guar gum/sugar mixture into your raspberry syrup, and then add to the custard and mix completely. Churn this in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer directions. When the ice cream is ready, add the brittle and churn just until mixed. (I used a cup and had a bit left over. If you want a LOT of brittle, use it all; alternately, you can reserve the brittle for a topping. It does stay crispy in the ice cream.) Transfer to a container and chill in your freezer until ready to serve.

DSC_0026aMakes about one quart (one liter) of ice cream.

17 thoughts on “Raspberry Salted Pine Nut Brittle Ice Cream

    • Thanks! 🙂

      You can make this with frozen raspberries; just heat more slowly and gently with the sugar so they thaw without caramelizing.

  1. Oh. My. Goodness. Do you have some dry ice? Can you send me some via FedEx? Had to laugh, though. You = Steve. Your sister = me. Whether at a u-pick or a dim sum restaurant.

    • I can’t WAIT to go out for dim sum with you and Steve. 🙂

      I barely restrained myself from going to the U-Pick again today. I had to remind myself I still have a LOT of raspberries in the freezer.

      • For sure! Can you believe we’ve never been to Seattle? We are definitely going to come one day before too long.

        Steve has been picking wild blackberries here every morning for the past week or more. (I sleep instead. Don’t like high grass, snakes, chiggers, slugs, etc.) He can’t stop himself.

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